Acacia galpinii

Botanical Name: Acacia (Senegalia) galpinii

Common Name: Monkey Thorn, Kwikala-nkanga  .

Plant Family: Fabaceae (Legume Family) Mimosoideae

Growth Form, Habitat and Distribution: A large deciduous tree with upward spreading branches and a rounded crown, the trunk triangularly buttressed. Confined to the drier, southern and western half of Zambia, mainly in wooded grassland and along river banks. Similar to Acacia (Senegalia) polyacantha, but the leaflets overlap in A. galpinii.

Size: Height up to 25m, usually smaller, spread up to 20m.

Bark: Pale and flaky, becoming dark brown, corky, with vertical furrows. Prickles in opposite pairs, short, broad, and hooked. (Up to 10cm)

Leaves: Alternate, bipinnate, up to 11cm, with 9 to 14 pairs of opposite pinnae, each with 13 to 40 opposite pairs of largish (4 to 11mm), oblong, symmetric, dark green leaflets, the middle pinnae largest. Petiole 1.5 to 4cm.

Flowers: In long, slender, cream to yellow spikes with reddish calyces before the flowers open with the new leaves, September and October.

Fruit: Large (28cm), straight, dehiscent, purple-brown pod thickened at the seed points ripening the following February and March releasing 6 to 11 red-purple seeds.       

Uses: The flowers attract bees and the pods are browsed by herbivores. Can make a good (but large) garden shade tree.